Have you ever watched a sunset with amazing colours and felt a sense of wow, gone to a concert and been blown away by the performance, or been so excited watching your favourite athlete smash a world record at the Olympics?
If so, you’ve experienced awe.
Awe is the positive feeling we experience in the presence of something so vast or extraordinary that challenges our understanding of the world and the way it works. The most common sources of awe are nature, the arts, and people.
Wow, awesome, amazing, stunning, and magical are just some of the words people use to describe the experience of awe. Awe psychologically transforms us and helps us grow. When we experience awe, we start to review our understanding of the world and where we fit in it. We essentially, look outside of ourselves and become less self-focused which helps us to broaden our perspective leading to personal growth.
We feel small when we experience awe, but in a good way. We feel humble and more connected to others, which increases our sense of common purpose. Awe is good for us and the world as a whole.
Numerous research studies have found that awe can also boost our wellbeing in numerous ways. Those who experience awe:
- Feel happier
- Increased satisfaction with life
- Are healthier due to reduced inflammation in the body and better immune functioning
- Less stressed
- Reduced levels of psychological distress
- Experience stronger connection to others due to increased levels of kindness and willingness to co-operate
- Are more curious, inspired and creative
Take a moment and think of the last time you felt amazed by something and reflect on how good it felt. Awe is such a powerful emotion, finding ways to experience more of it can do wonders in improving your wellbeing. It is one of my go-to strategies to manage stress, feel more grounded and keep burnout at bay.
To increase awe in your everyday life:
- Take time away from your phone and pay attention to what is happening around you
- Get out into nature, especially wide open spaces
- Enjoy the arts
- Be curious and learn more about the world, past and present
- Slow down and really notice what you are experiencing, moment by moment
- Visit somewhere new
- Travel to experience new cultures and the wonders of the world
- Appreciate the beauty in your everyday surrounding
If you would like to experience more awe in your life, which activities will you try?